Anchors Aweigh





Last weekend Mini Buns, Sticky Buns and I went on an overnight camping trip with the Scout troop to Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts. Battleship Cove is located on Mount Hope Bay directly under the I195 bridge. Though many of the other scouts in the troop had gone before, this was our first time attending the overnight camping trip.We knew we would be spending the night on the Battleship USS Massachusetts, but we honestly had no idea what to expect. We were greeted at the gate and escorted into the belly of the ship, down corridors, past the galley, to our sleeping quarters, which were bunks stacked 4 high, suspended from the ceiling on the equivalent of swingset chains. At first glance you can't help but to wonder if the chains will support the weight of 4 boys, let alone 4 full grown men. (In my case a little more than full grown)






Our bunk room was air conditioned, which was a good thing because the near 90 degree temperatures outside were multiplied inside the ship. After stowing our gear, we were able to tour the massive watercraft on our own and pass time as we saw fit until lunch time.






The first place the boys and I ventured to was the bow of the ship. Standing at the front of this floating fortress, looking back at the massive weapons that dominated the deck was absolutely amazing. There were few places on the ship that were off limits, and the boys examined all that they could. They sat on the anchor, they climbed to the bridge, they sat in the mounts of the 5" inch guns, they even climbed into the turrets of the massive 16" guns pointing fore and aft. They had a blast, (no pun intended) playing hide and seek, and various war games that young boys will inevitably play when set free to their own devices aboard an actual battleship.



For me though, the experience was a little different. You see I am a person that seriously values all that our men and women of the military endures for our freedom. I am one of the people that, when I see a service man or woman in a restaurant, I'll find the waiter or waitress and have them put their meal on my tab. If I see a service man or woman buying a cup of coffee, I'll pay for their coffee. After all, it is a small price for me compared to what they are paying for MY freedom.

Back to the boys and our camping trip. After our initial perusal of the ship it was lunch time. There was a snack bar on the top deck (topside, if you will), where we all gathered for lunch. Standing in line reading the menu board I saw all of the usual kids meal suspects that you would expect on a ship. There was "The Pirate" (hot dog), the "Crow's Nest" (chicken basket), and a few other meals named after seafaring ware. Oddly enough though there was no "Anchor", which is what I would have called each and every meal ON the board, because that is how it rested on your stomach, like an anchor.










During the day we toured the USS Massachusetts, as well as the Destroyer Joseph P.Kennedy, and the other ships anchored along with the Massachusetts. We met veterans that had actually served on the ships we were now playing on like schoolyard playground equipment. We saw re-enactors that described the various weapons and gear that our military used during World War II, and the uses for that equipment.

It was an awesome day for all of us. The kids had fun being together, playing war games and I, for one, enjoyed the living history of it all. Just being where the brave sailors of days long past stood to defend this great nation of ours was surreal. I am thankful that my boys and I got to experience that and you can be sure we will be going back next year, although it won't be for the food. J



















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